Thaddeus Bodog Sivana

Going on with Lucy W.‘s list we meet another historical DC villain, Dr. Sivana, the nemesis of the Marvel Family. Sivana is one of the oldest DC villains, born in 1940, and he’s pretty much the prototype of mad scientists in comics. As for now, he received only one live action portrayal, in the 1970s tv special Legends of the Superheroes: portrayed by Howard Morris, he debuts alongside an impressive number of villains in a new incarnation of the Legion of Doom, trying to ruin the party for Scarlet Cyclone‘s retirement celebration, and he comes back in the second part to participate to the roast of the superheroes held by Ed McMahon. In the comics, he’s much more menacing than this, and he’s renowned for being the first villain who expressly doesn’t have any problem in killing children (quite a feat at the beginning of comics). He’s one of the few characters who retained at least part of his biography going from Fawcett Comics to DC Comics, so we can reduce his origin stories to two different versions: let’s see together.

Thaddeus Bodog Sivana was born somewhere in Europe in 1892, from an unknown family. Growing up he became one of the most brilliant minds in the world, so ahead of his time that most of his peers believed him to be a visionary. The only one who encouraged him in his discoveries was Venus, his wife, who also gave him four children: Beautia, Magnificus, Georgia and Thaddeus Jr., children who inherited a part of their father’s character each. The scientific community, however, kept mocking him for inventions they simply couldn’t understand, and after the umpteenth refusal Sivana finally snapped: he decided to leave the very planet Earth, sure that humans weren’t worthy of his genius. With a spaceship of his own invention (one of the creations that weren’t supposed to work according to the scientists), Sivana and his family travelled to planet Venus (a homage to his wife), waiting for the moment Earth would have been ready to accept his superior intellect. Venus, however, wasn’t exactly a heaven of a planet, and Sivana’s wife perished there; embittered by his beloved one’s death, Thaddeus blamed Earth’s scientists for everything, and having to fight for his life every day of his life didn’t make things any better. When, some thirty years later, Sivana decided it was time to come back to Earth, he did so with one thing in mind: revenge. In the United States it was 1940, and the planet was engulfed in World War II: the best way Sivana had to obtain his revenge, was to put the country in danger against its enemies. With one of his machines, a radio silencer, he threatened to destroy all radio communications permanently if he wasn’t given $50,000,000. Anyway, there was something else new on the planet, appeared in the time he had been away: superheroes. During his first adventure, Captain Marvel intervened to stop him, vanquished his lackeys and destroyed his machine. From that moment, Sivana included the superhero in the list of the people he wanted to take revenge against, and becoming Captain Marvel’s living nightmare.

The universe was destroyed, recreated and rewritten, and Dr. Sivana along with it: when he was reborn, he did so much time later, in the second half of the XX Century. In this time, Sivana was always a brilliant (and mad) scientist, but he was also a renowned genius, rewarded with success in business and even in politics; also his family made it out to the new reality, but this time his wife Venus divorced him soon after the birth of their fourth child. He lived in Fawcett City, and he was easily one of the world’s richest and most powerful men. Some researches of his evidenced the presence of an ancient power somewhere in Egypt, and he employed renowned archaeologists C. C. and Mary Batson to retrieve what he wanted from an ancient pyramid; he also sent one of his lackeys, Theo Adam, along with the couple, instructing him to kill them as soon as they digged out the ancient power he wanted for himself. Sivana invested quite an amount of money in the expedition, sure that the final prize was worth any sum of money…but something went wrong: the Batsons found what they were meant to, Adam killed them both, but it was the archaeologists’ young son, Billy, the one who obtained the power, becoming the superpowered Captain Marvel (both Adam and Sivana recognised him, as he assumed his late father’s appearance when he turned adult as the hero). Already on the brink of bankrupt for the money he had lost on the expedition, Sivana received the finishing blow by Captain Marvel himself, who confronted him and destroyed his research facilities, ending his financial empire. For Sivana, this meant the beginning of a war, and knowing that his adversary was a ten years old boy didn’t represent a problem for him. With no resources at his disposal, Sivana formed an uneasy alliance with the alien warm Mr. Mind, but his humiliation grew as he was forced to ally himself with Captain Marvel himself to get rid of the parasite. Next, he joined forces with Lex Luthor, a kindred spirit who helped him get back on his feet and to elaborate a plan to utterly destroy the Big Reed Cheese‘s life (that’s how he called Marvel): the war had just begun.

Dr. Thaddeus Sivana is an extremely intelligent and brilliant individual, but also a ruthless and greedy man who only seeks power and dominion. With no superpowers of sort, his incredible intellect gives him advantage against any foe: a skilled inventor and engineer, he can create pretty much everything, from mind-controlling devices to death-ray machines, to his best known and most effective invention, the Unternet, a network system used by criminals all around the world which is completely undetectable and impenetrable by unwanted guests (including the super-hacker Oracle). Bent on a vengeful quest against a world who fails to acknowledge his superiority, Sivana is as dangerous as he is intelligent, a genius who’s devoted his science to utter evil.

Khufu Maat Kha-Tar/Brian Kent/Koenraad Von Grimm/Hannibal Hawkes/James Wright/Carter Hall (Hawkman)

HawkmanA promotional image from Legends of Tomorrow has finally revealed one of the upcoming new heroes: Hawkman, who’ll be portrayed by Falk Hentschel. The character will debut in The Flash, and he’ll later be among the recurring characters in the team-up show (even if the scene will be all for his wife Hawkgirl). This is not Hawkman’s first live action appearance: he was among the heroes present in Legends of the Superheroes, where he was portrayed by Bill Nuckols and had to face an unprecedented threat…his elderly mother. Luckily enough, he received a better portrayal in Smallville, where Michael Shanks played an older verion of the hero mentoring Clark Kent and his friends from the Justice League; Hawkman comes back to action when Icicle starts to kill his old friends from the Justice Society of America, and stays a superhero until he’s killed by Deathstroke. He’s then buried to the side of his beloved wife, waiting to reincarnate once again. Waiting to see what this new portayal of Carter Hall will add to the character, let’s see who the original one is.

During the 19th dynasty, in Ancient Egypt, the wise prince Khufu Maat Kha-Tar was deeply in love with Chay-Ara, his bethroted and later wife. During the reign of pharaoh Ramesses II, a prophecy from the sorcerer Nabu was fulfilled, and the gods sent their charriot from the skies (it was actually an alien ship from planet Thanagar, crashlanding in the desert). After looking for the “charriot” along with Nabu himself and the realm’s champion, Teth-Adam, Khufu finally found it, and after seeing the hawk’s crest on it, he decided to bring it to the Temple of Horus, believing it was sacred to the god. Once in the temple, Khufu started researching the metal the ship was made of (the Nth Metal), and discovered some unique properties of it…first of all, its natural ability to defy gravity. Khufu forged several objects from the unknown alloy, mainly for himself and for his beloved Chay-Ara: he built two armors, equipped with a pair of wings that allowed them both to fly over the skies of Egypt like the gods from the old tales. He also forged weapons, amulets and other tools, always for his wife. The metal also had some invisible effects: it strenghtened the bond between Khufu’s and Chay-Ara’s kas (their souls), and somehow hawkmancomics1“chained” them to Earth, in an infinite cycle of death and rebirth (something they would have learnt ages after). As most pure and true loves, however, even their own attracted the envy and the hatred of lesser men, especially of the evil priest Hath-Set. Jealous of their happiness, and lustful towards Chay-Ara, Hath-Set murdered them both using a knife made of Nth-Metal, and casted a cruel spell on them: wanting to prevent the two lovers to be united again in the future, the priest cursed them to search each other again over the centuries, reincarnation after reincarnation, and when they would have found each other, their happiness wouldn’t have lasted long, since one of the two would have been killed, leaving the other alone until the following rebirth. From that fateful day, Khufu reincarnated many times, always loving his Chay-Ara, always losing her: in the Medieval England, he was the heroic Brian Kent, the Silent Knight, promised to Lady Celia Penbrook; in 14th Century Germany he was the blacksmith Koenraad Von Grimm; two centuries later he was Captain John Smith, a colonist in love with Indian Pocahontas; in the 19th Century United States he was Hannibal “Nighthawk” Hawkes, a vigilante married to his love and “colleague” Katherine “Cinnamon” Manser; the following century he was James Wright, a detective from Pinkerton Agency, in love with nightclub singer Sheila Carr.

From era to era, Khufu and Chay-Ara had to remember their past lives, usually a traumatic experience, and to look for each other around the world, only to witness the other’s death once again. Finally, in modern times, Khufu reincarnated in Carter Hall, an American archaeologist. Carter’s studies brought him to Egypt, working for a scientist named Anton Hastor in the digging of an ancient temple. In his work, Carter was helped by another archaeologist, Shiera Sanders, a woman he was incredibly fascinated by. While exploring the temple, Carter found out it was dedicated to Horus…and that he had already been there many, many years before. Among the artifcats the archaeologists found in the temple there was an ancient dagger made of an unknown metal: hawkmancomics2it was the same one that had killed, millennia before, Khufu and Chay-Ara. Upon touching the Nth-Metal, Carter and Shiera suddenly remembered their past lives…and they were even able to recognize Hastor, who was actually a reincarnated Hath-Set. The evil priest tried to accomplish his vengeance immediately after the two recognised one another, and lured Shiera in his lair. Carter, however, was now aware of his potentialities…and of his weapons: after rietriving Khufu’s armor and mace, he flew to the rescue, and freed Shiera. Together, the reunited couple defeated Hastor, apparently breaking (for the moment…) their infinite curse. Together again, Carter Hall and Shiera Sanders got married shortly after, and driven by their immortal sense of justice, they decided to use Thanagarian weaponry for a right cause…just as they did in the previous lives. In modern times, the two became the superheroes Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and soon after the beginning of their activity as masked heroes they joined other vigilantes founding the Justice Society of America, a supergroup Hawkman became the chairman of. Carter and Shiera also had a son, Hector, who followed their footsteps and became the heroic Silver Scarab; as Hawkman and Hawkgirl, they even joined a new supergroup, the Justice League of America. Carter’s happiness was shadowed only by the certainty that, sooner or later, the curse upon him and his wife would have struck again…

Carter Hall is a man who carries on his shoulders all the wisdom and the pain of dozens of past lives, lives that he always lived as a champion of justice, as a strong, honest and determined man. As Hawkman, his equipment allows him to fly thanks to artificial wings, while his armor grants him superhuman physical attributes (strength, stamina, durability, speed, healing…) and gives him access to the collective knowledge of the Thanagarian people; with the experience of millennia of combat, he’s one of the best armed and unarmed fighters on the planet. His soul is deeply bound to Earth and to the one of his beloved Chay-Ara: the two of them never truly die, but they reincarnate time after time, driven one to another by an immortal, tragic love, that will see them always reunited, but always doomed to witness one the death of the other. Sometimes brutal and violent, but always rightful and heroic, Carter Hall/Khufu has known many ages, many places, many people…but there is always one single constant in his neverening cycle of lives: his everlasting love for his wife.

Mark Mardon (Weather Wizard)

Mark MardonAnd now for the last character appeared (sort of…) in City of Heroes, first episode of The Flash: when Joe West tells David Singh the responsibles for the bank robbery are Clyde and Mark Mardon, he shows him a picture of the two criminals…and that’s everything we have of Mark for now, despite him being one of the most known and popular villains in DC Comics. Since his brother Clyde survived the plane accident and developed the powers that in the comics belong to Mark, it’s likely he’ll show up again as well, taking his rightful mantle as the Weather Wizard. The character already appeared in Legends of the Superheroes portrayed by Jeff Altman: in this version, he’s a member of the Legion of Doom, and along with the rest of the team he crashes the superheroes party and threatens them all with a hidden bomb. He also appeared in the tv movie Justice League of America, even if his name and origin were changed: portrayed by Miguel Ferrer, he was named Dr. Eno, a greedy scientist able to manipulate weather via a special machine; under the alias The Weatherman, he almost destroyed the entire New Metro before being stopped and arrested by the titular team of superheroes. Waiting for him to pop out again in The Flash, let’s see who he is in the comics.

Mark Mardon was born in Central City, and he grew up with his older brother, Clyde. The two, however, couldn’t be more different: as the latter was calm and responsible, the second one was impulsive and selfish. Becoming a young adult, Mark couldn’t help but becoming a small-time criminal, a burglar who continuously came in and out of prison. Finally, police caught him once again, and he was convicted to spend several years in Tri-State Prison, one of the toughest jails weatherwizardcomics1around. Still trying to avoid punishment, Mark used a window to escape from the prison transport, and desperately look for a place to hide: he immediately thought of his brother Clyde, who was at the time living in an isolated house on an island in Big Water Lake. Mark found Clyde, who had become a scientist, in the middle of an experiment, and asked him to hide him: his brother, however, told him he would have done a favor to him by calling the police and allowing him to grow up, and took the phone. Panicking, Mark grabbed the first thing he could in Clyde’s lab, a strange stick which happened to be his brother’s latest experiment, a futuristic device able to manipulate weather (nicknamed the Weather Wand): responding to Mark’s unwilling gesture, the Wand summoned a lihgtning that killed Clyde. Still shocked for his brother’s death, Mark tried to study his notes, from which he understood (more or less) what the Wand was; he also read from Clyde’s diary that he was about to share his discoveries with the world, in order to make it a better place for anybody to live in…and Mark decided it would have become a better place to live in for himself, as a beginning. Understanding the potentialities of the Weather Wand, Mark decided to use it for his crimes, and created a costume to hide his identity and to become a super-thief: the Weather Wizard was born.

First of all, Mardon hunted down the three policemen who had arrested him, looking for revenge. He found and “punished” the first two, but as weatherwizardcomics2he approached the third and last one he was confronted by The Flash, Central City’s new superhero. Flash had guessed the Weather Wizard’s real identity, and had anticipated him understanding his pattern: the two fought, but the hero’s superspeed eventually proved to be superior to Mardon’s still immature ability to control the weather, and the criminal was arrested once again. During his time in prison, Mark had plenty of time to study his brother’s notes, and he finally understood the true functioning of the Wand. His mastership over that technology was such that he became able to replicate it: he broke out of jail with his new Weather Wand, and embarked in a new project. Realising he was thinking in a far too small scale, just using the Wand to summon lightning bolts on his enemies and to fly on wind currents, the Weather Wizard built a Weather Control Station able to amplificate his Wand’s powers, and used it to cast an eternal winter on an entire city, Oakley County in Wyoming, later asking for a huge ransom to free it. Oakley County was just a test, as he planned to build an even bigger Station to imprison the entire United States in his area of influence…but, once again, he was stopped by a speedster, this time Kid Flash, who teamed up with Elongated Man to arrest him. Despite his defeat, the Weather Wizard had now finally understood the full extent of his power, and was ready to use it all, with the help of other villains in the group known as The Rogues, or even by himself, being more than a threat for whoever crossed his path…

Mark Mardon is an intelligent and brilliant man, but also a greedy and unscrupolous one, who uses his many talents for his personal benefit only. With the years, Mardon also proved to be quite unstable, sometimes even depressed, mostly because of his sense of guilt towards his brother’s accidental death. As the Weather Wizard, he uses the Weather Wand to manipulate weather, summoning lightnings, snow storms and even tornados, using strong blasts of wind to fly and levitate, and much more; the Wand is powerful enough also to manipulate Earth‘s magnetic field, but the Wizard seldomly uses his weapon to this extent, perfectly understanding the potential destructive consequences. Intelligent and powerful, the Weather Wizard has fought The Flash and the other members of the Justice League more than once, everytime proving himself a tough opponent, although driven by a personal, weird moral code.